Pursue Excellence not Perfection

I was meeting with a prospective client recently and said those four key words to her, “In order to achieve your objectives, we need to PURSUE EXCELLENCE NOT PERFECTION.” After I said it, she looked at me, stood up and said, “Can you please excuse me for a minute?” Two minutes later she returned with the CEO and the three of us proceeded to have an engaging 90-minute discussion on how we could improve the performance of their people and their organization.

When we pursue excellence, we reward improvement. We provide a clear road map for people to follow. We achieve incremental successes. And we are always able to redefine what excellence means and set new expectations.

When we pursue perfection, we don’t reward improvement. We only reward perfection. What if it’s never achieved? There are only two possible outcomes when you strive for perfection: Success or failure. There is no middle ground. And unfortunately most organizations that strive for perfection, fail. And even though improvements have been made, they are not celebrated, because perfection was not achieved.

The next time that organization set expectations, people are wary and gun shy because they remember the last time the organization failed. I had a client who told me that her Board of Directors still reviews a specific failed project at every meeting. The problem is that the project failed FIVE YEARS AGO!!! And they are still dwelling on it. Why would anyone want to propose any new project if that is the way failure is treated?

Are you pursuing excellence and setting your organization up for success and improvement, or perfection and setting it up for failure?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – January 4, 2016

I recently delivered a teleconference on prioritization, but the main focus was finding your ONE priority. Many organizations struggle with prioritization because everything becomes a priority for them. They don’t make decisions about which initiatives or ideas are more important than others. In order to find your one priority, you need yo ask yourself two questions:

  1. What is your organization’s ideal future state?
  2. What is the fastest and most effective way to achieve that future state?

The responses to those questions informs the decisions that you make.

Once you have identified your one priority, everything your organization does should align with that one priority. As other initiatives or ideas come up, you then ask yourself another question:

Will these new initiatives help my organization achieve its ideal future state more rapidly or effectively?

If the answer is ‘Yes,” then you need to consider other factors and possibly identify your new one priority.

If ‘No,” then you should move on.

Identifying your one priority is about providing your organization with a laser focus on how to best achieve dramatic results. I’m guessing that is better than the way you currently operate, piling one priority on top of another.

Looking for more insights?
Are you a small or medium-sized business owner looking to accelerate growth and maximize profitability? Then you need to register for my free workshop on How to Accelerate Growth Through Operational Excellence.
Want to become more adept at Operational Excellence? Check out my new Operational Excellence program.
Check out my podcast series called Hockey Management, where I use hockey as an analogy for successful business results.
Prefer watching videos? The take a look at my short videos providing operational excellence tips.
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